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With unrest across the US, asks the Twittersphere, where is the ‘Free American Army’?

14 7 20

The scenario is all too familiar: the almost casual murder in Minneapolis of an unarmed African American citizen — say his name: George Floyd —by police officers has sparked a wave of social unrest and protests across the country. Since Floyd’s killing on 25 May, we have seen what are arguably the worst “race riots” in a generation, following Los Angeles in 1992 and Detroit in 1967, for example. What makes the current protests different, though, is how rapidly they have spread across America helped in part, no doubt, by the availability and use of social media. The events are taking place with the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic in a country with the highest recorded number of cases and deaths.

Yet while numerous cities are burning, stores are being looted and violent clashes are occurring between citizens and law enforcement officers, the framing of these events as “riots” is hypocritical. Commentators and politicians may well be blinded by US exceptionalism as they rush to describe similar protests in the Middle East and Hong Kong, for example, as “uprisings” or “revolutions”, while home-grown unrest is labelled as anything but. With “riots” implying that blame lies with the citizens on the streets, the subtle distinctions are rarely explained.

Chills. pic.twitter.com/Lun0khheuO

— 🍑 (@kalifromdavalli) May 30, 2020

Holy moly.

A sea of protesters filled the streets of Chicago for George Floyd today.

Yet these massive peaceful protests rarely make it to mainstream media.#GeorgeFloydProtests pic.twitter.com/SjSHITpEud

— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) May 31, 2020

READ: Covid-19 and the oil market crash spell the end for US hegemony and the petrodollar

Last year, I wrote about the Iranian protests in reaction to the sanction-hit government’s raising of subsidised fuel prices. Many Western officials and analysts at the time were salivating at the prospects of a popular uprising against the “Mullah regime”, as they have for the past 40 years. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the developments and said at the time, “The world is watching”, as did President Donald Trump. Indeed, in a supreme irony given the current situation in the US, Trump tweeted: “To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!” He has, of course, threatened to turn “ominous........

© Middle East Monitor